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The Times Newseum at the Saatchi Gallery

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by Steff Humm (subscribe)
I'm a trainee journalist living in London. A personal blog is forthcoming.
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The Times Newseum
Welcome to the Times Newseum

"For nearly 230 years," the placard reads, "The Times has reported and commented on the events of the day, at home and abroad, in war and peace, through economic crises, industrial disputes, heroic adventures, criminal rampages, royal scandals and political dramas."

That's a lot of news.

Since 1785, the leading British newspaper and its sister publication, The Sunday Times, have provided over 83,000 issues of award-winning journalism, chronicling events from around the world to create history within their pages. Now, for the first time, the public are invited to see the hidden gems of The Times archives and discover the history of the papers through selected artefacts and stories that show the incredible impact British journalism has made on our culture over the last two centuries.

Times Photos
Photos from The Times


Launched in October 2013 as part of the Cheltenham Literature festival, The Times "Newseum" has since been touring the UK, ending its journey with a stay at the Saatchi Gallery in London from 8th - 20th September 2014.

The free guidebooks dominate the entryway to Gallery 8 where the exhibition is held. Printed in the form of broadsheets, the guides are piled into a wall, "Read All About It" printed loudly on the front to give visitors a punny hint.

The Times Newseum Slide Projector
Slides of Olympic photos


Inside the gallery, 200 years of journalism history lines the walls, mixing mediums and combining old and new technology to immerse visitors in the paper's long and important biography. Mobile phones hang from the ceiling displaying a feed of the day's headlines, while slide projectors click through loops of iconic photographs of celebrated Olympic champions. Colourful canvases depicting explosive warfare hang near to an iPad displaying a slideshow of journalists' tools of the trade. A wall of typewriters and machines to transmit codes and messages dominates the far end of the space and a notepad is still considered the most enduring and valuable of a writer's equipment.

Stories are everywhere. Artefacts from the life of the world's first war correspondent, the tale of carrier pigeons being used to transfer news during a siege, the large canvas print photo of the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb, all confirm the overarching theme of the exhibition; that it is the endurance and ingenuity of the people that have made The Times great.

The Times Carrier Pigeon
A Times carrier pigeon


Walled off by the barrier of broadsheet guidebooks next to the entrance is a video area. Here, stools, slightly-used and uncomfortably warm headphones and a giant plasma screen wait for visitors to settle down with their bags on their knees to watch The Unquiet Film Series. The seven films, played in a loop, really provide the heart of the exhibition with short and often powerful documentaries about various aspects of Times reporting.

The first pieces, The Power of Words and Question Everything, interview some of the paper's prominent journalists, such as Caitlin Moran and Ben Macintyre, exploring the writer's relationship to the content they produce and the industry they contribute to. The message is that The Times is a paper that will "challenge people's prejudices" and "change people's minds" through the courage and resourcefulness displayed in the glass cases throughout the exhibition. The elitist aura surrounding the newspaper is debunked as a "strange myth" in favour of "a feeling of freedom". Moran, while likening the spread of ideas to diseases, suggests that "words become a game that everyone can play" and we are reminded of why journalism is so important.

The Times Notebook
Notebooks are a journalist's best friend


The third film details the origins of the Times New Roman typeface, which was designed for the paper in 1931. The fourth explores photojournalism with a series of haunting images of important news events. These two films depict The Times as an innovator, at the forefront of technology and journalistic procedures. This is explored further in the final set of films, which focus again on the adventurous courage of war correspondents and other problem-solving journalists that are renowned for doing whatever it takes to get their story.

The full Unquiet Film Series can be found here.

The Times Newseum Archive
Don't forget to sign the guestbook


An inspiring exhibit, The Times Newseum is full of fascinating stories that make it easy to see why the paper is Britain's "record of note".

The Saatchi Gallery is a five minute walk from Sloane Square station on the Circle and District lines. It is open between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Sunday, and is completely free. Guide books are available for several of the exhibitions and audio guides can be picked up from the front desk for only £2. Last admission is at 5:30pm.
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Why? A history of one of Britain's greatest newspapers
When: 10am - 6pm seven days a week. Last entry 5:30pm
Phone: 0207 811 3070
Where: The Saatchi Gallery
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Cool. I'll have to check this out. Great article!
by Erin (score: 2|532) 1714 days ago
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